At Hansen Fitness For Golf we believe in creating the athlete first and then turning that athlete into a golfer. That does not mean we do not include golf fundamentals in our junior performance programs, but we do not want our juniors just hitting balls. Golf is not an easy sport to learn, we work with golfers that have played over 40 years that are still learning how to become more consistent and efficient. It is a lot easier for a swing instructor to turn an athlete that has learned how to control their body (physical literacy) into a great golfer than it is for them to teach one that hasn’t had to use their body athletically.
A well rounded junior golfer is one that has participated in many sports growing up and has an understanding of how to use their body efficiently and recruit the proper muscles when needed. In our early development program that is our focus when creating a future golfer.
We often see early bloomers that may excel earlier than those of the same age that may not have developed biologically yet, and unfortunately those early bloomers get lost in the crowd as their peers that have been developing athletically catch up with them. It means a lot more to win a prestigious event at 20 or 21 than it does to win a small tournament at 8 years old.
When we work with golfers of 14-18 years of age for the first time, we always screen them to see what kind of body awareness they have. If there are any deficiencies we make sure to address this first before working on strength or speed aspects of their program.
I had the opportunity this summer to work with Ye Wo-Cheng from China who at age 12 became the youngest golfer ever to compete on the European Tour when he qualified for the China Open this past May. He was a lot like most 12 year olds we see, but he was a STUD when it came to the athletic skills I tested him on. He was not the strongest 12 year old I’ve seen, but when asked, could perform every movement.
When choosing a golf program for your junior golfer, be sure they do not just beat balls the whole time. Make sure there are some athletic development exercises involved as well. This will keep them engaged and make them love the game in the long run.